OSDCloud #2 – OS Installation with OSDCloud GUI

In the first post of the OSDCloud blog series, we have seen how a reference machine can be configured and a WinPE ISO file can be created.

When we are attaching our ISO file, which has been created in the previous step, after booting up, OSDCloudGUI will be started automatically:

GUI Options

Now, we will show the functions and the possibilities of using the OSDCloudGUI.

Deployment Options

  • Clear-Disk option: all disks should be cleaned, but we have the ultimate control. You can say “No”, but that’s not recommended.
  • Restart-Computer: the device has to be restarted from the current WinPE session, with the command,wpeutil reboot
  • Screenshot Capture: every two seconds, a screenshot will be saved on the local disk in C:\OSDCloud\ScreenPNG.

 

Microsoft Update Catalog

In addition to Disk Drivers, Network Drivers and SCSIAdapter Drivers are also downloaded from Microsoft Update Catalog. This is to ensure that we are able to boot to specialize for EXE Driver Extraction. You have the option to download System Firmware on supported devices as well.

 

Operating System

Here you can choose OS builds, which are supported from OSDCloud.

Driver Pack

We are able to select between different driver packs, “Microsoft Update Catalog”, or “None” as needed.

 

Using Custom Images

We can use custom images with Start-OSDCloud by either specifying a URL, or placing the file on a USB or network share. Later to this topic find more details in zero touch deployment post.

Save the custom ISO to your OSDCloudUSB volume in the OSDCloud\OS directory or any subdirectory:

Only the WinPE ISO option was mentioning in the first post. You can learn more about OSDCloud USB, here.

If you Start-OSDCloudGUI that will perform a search for ISO files and mount them before the GUI loads.

Log Files

If we run into issues in WinPE, there are several files that you can use for reference. The details of the Windows Image or ISO that you selected are contained in root of X:\. These files are only available in WinPE and are destroyed as soon as the computer reboots.

More detailed logs are located in X:\OSDCloud\Logs. These files are also no longer available after you reboot.

Finally, C:\OSDCloud\Logs will contain OSDCloud.json which is an export of all the OSDCloud Variables. This file will persist after rebooting from WinPE.

 

Extra – OSDCloud Sandbox

Even if you are not using any OSCloud prepared bootable ISO, you can be prepared in this phase to simply run OSDCloud to image your device. You can use OSDCloud Sandbox on any WinPE that has PowerShell package added from the Microsoft ADK, so this should work on most MDT and CM Boot Images.

Requirements:

  • Windows 10 or Windows 11 WinPE (ADK, MDT, or CM)
  • Microsoft ADK PowerShell added to WinPE
  • WinPE Drivers for your device (Network and Disk)
  • Internet Connection

In a Command Prompt, type the following command and press enter:

powershell iex(irm sandbox.osdcloud.com)


Tip: you can open PowerShell and invoke from there, but it’s best to open PowerShell AFTER the WinPE environment has been updated to support PowerShell Gallery and OSDCloud.

Within a minute, PowerShell Gallery will be enabled, and OSDCloud requirements (OSD Module and Curl) will be set. After this step, start PowerShell and land OSDCloud world:

Summary

Start-OSDCloudGUI and Start-OSDCloud command lets are just frontends to Invoke-OSDCloud, but the magic happens under the hood.

After this step, we are landing in the OOBE (Out-of-Box-Experience) phase, with an up to date driver set. We are ready to go eg. for Autopilot and/or for more customization like OS update, remove AppX’s, install some optional OS features and so much more.

In the next post(s), we will go further and we will cover some important steps after OOBE phase.

Happy #OSDClouding!

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